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Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Biography

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“So this is the little lady who made this big war,” marvelled Abraham Lincoln when he first met Harriet Beecher Stowe. Noel Gerson explores the life of this fascinating woman who literally changed the course of American history with her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe reveals a towering literary figure who was also a remarkable woman, a crusading feminist, an “So this is the little lady who made this big war,” marvelled Abraham Lincoln when he first met Harriet Beecher Stowe. Noel Gerson explores the life of this fascinating woman who literally changed the course of American history with her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe reveals a towering literary figure who was also a remarkable woman, a crusading feminist, and a woman who led a life more dramatic than anything she wrote. In an age when women were usually confined to the kitchen, the bedroom, and the parlour, Harriet Beecher Stowe argued emancipation with President Lincoln, had an extraordinary woman-to-woman relationship with Queen Victoria, and was regarded by Emile Zola as a comrade-in-arms in their separate crusades for a better world. Her super-abundant energy and refreshing humour enabled her to combine the duties of a devoted wife and mother of five with a renowned literary career and to become in the process one of the greatest celebrities of the nineteenth century. ‘Harriet Beecher Stowe’ is an impressive biography of a literary giant who changed the course of history forever. Noel Bertram Gerson (1913-1988) was a prolific American author, who wrote 325 books under his own name and under several pseudonyms. He channeled his own wartime experience in military intelligence into many of his novels, as well as writing widely about American history. His titles include ‘Liner’, ‘Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Shelley’, ‘The Conqueror’s Wife’ and ‘I’ll Storm Hell: A Novel of Mad Anthony Wayne’. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher. For more information on our titles please sign up to our newsletter at www.endeavourpress.com. Each week you will receive updates on free and discounted ebooks. Follow us on Twitter: @EndeavourPress and on Facebook via http://on.fb.me/1HweQV7. We are always interested in hearing from our readers. Endeavour Press believes that the future is now.


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“So this is the little lady who made this big war,” marvelled Abraham Lincoln when he first met Harriet Beecher Stowe. Noel Gerson explores the life of this fascinating woman who literally changed the course of American history with her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe reveals a towering literary figure who was also a remarkable woman, a crusading feminist, an “So this is the little lady who made this big war,” marvelled Abraham Lincoln when he first met Harriet Beecher Stowe. Noel Gerson explores the life of this fascinating woman who literally changed the course of American history with her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Harriet Beecher Stowe reveals a towering literary figure who was also a remarkable woman, a crusading feminist, and a woman who led a life more dramatic than anything she wrote. In an age when women were usually confined to the kitchen, the bedroom, and the parlour, Harriet Beecher Stowe argued emancipation with President Lincoln, had an extraordinary woman-to-woman relationship with Queen Victoria, and was regarded by Emile Zola as a comrade-in-arms in their separate crusades for a better world. Her super-abundant energy and refreshing humour enabled her to combine the duties of a devoted wife and mother of five with a renowned literary career and to become in the process one of the greatest celebrities of the nineteenth century. ‘Harriet Beecher Stowe’ is an impressive biography of a literary giant who changed the course of history forever. Noel Bertram Gerson (1913-1988) was a prolific American author, who wrote 325 books under his own name and under several pseudonyms. He channeled his own wartime experience in military intelligence into many of his novels, as well as writing widely about American history. His titles include ‘Liner’, ‘Daughter of Earth and Water: A Biography of Mary Shelley’, ‘The Conqueror’s Wife’ and ‘I’ll Storm Hell: A Novel of Mad Anthony Wayne’. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher. For more information on our titles please sign up to our newsletter at www.endeavourpress.com. Each week you will receive updates on free and discounted ebooks. Follow us on Twitter: @EndeavourPress and on Facebook via http://on.fb.me/1HweQV7. We are always interested in hearing from our readers. Endeavour Press believes that the future is now.

30 review for Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    A tale of a remarkable woman from a remarkable family that underscores the power of words and the ideas they express to influence the course of human events... With admirable brevity (but no lack of insight or details) sketches the life and career of a woman well ahead of her times...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    More Admirable Than I Realized Harriet Beecher Stowe 's biography surprised me, for it seems she was more admirable than I knew. If I thought of her at all it was as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. She wrote a great deal more than that. She contributed to American women's history more than I realized. She was more successful, also. Learning about her was made more enjoyable, I believe, because I had recently read about the Bronte family. The Bronte siblings were also "preachers kids" and though t More Admirable Than I Realized Harriet Beecher Stowe 's biography surprised me, for it seems she was more admirable than I knew. If I thought of her at all it was as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. She wrote a great deal more than that. She contributed to American women's history more than I realized. She was more successful, also. Learning about her was made more enjoyable, I believe, because I had recently read about the Bronte family. The Bronte siblings were also "preachers kids" and though the lived on the opposite side of the Atlantic they lived during some of the same decades. Harriet knew some of the same writers of the day that Charlotte knew. At some point in their lives both were highly successful and popular novelists and at least once each faced criticism that might have been avoided. They were quite different and yet there are interesting points of similarity. I also appreciated comparing both of their fathers' ministries. This biography is less scholarly than the one about the Bronte family, so I think the reader who enjoys biographical books will find it an easy, pleasant read. A side comment, I wish when I visited Mark Twain's home in Hartford that I had realized he was Harriet's neighbor. Since I spent part of my adult life in New England, I knew some of the places in the book. I enjoyed that too.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Wow. One of The First Feminists! I was quite impressed with this Bio of Harriet Beecher Stowe, an amazingly prolific writer, who produced Atlantic Monthly articles from it's inception, to many, many novels, children's books and her growth from stern Puritan to champion of the poor and enslaved who was a European sensation was mind boggling. I admit, I did find some of the quoted correspondences, which much of the book centered around full and repeteitive and I did skim through a few in the center Wow. One of The First Feminists! I was quite impressed with this Bio of Harriet Beecher Stowe, an amazingly prolific writer, who produced Atlantic Monthly articles from it's inception, to many, many novels, children's books and her growth from stern Puritan to champion of the poor and enslaved who was a European sensation was mind boggling. I admit, I did find some of the quoted correspondences, which much of the book centered around full and repeteitive and I did skim through a few in the center of the story. They did make slogging through the beginning quite slow as well... this would have been a five star bio with editing/synopsis of those areas. The work did bring pre-war, Civil war, and post-war into a new perspective for me. As a parent of a Bowdoin College Alum, I knew Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in a still existing home steps from campus. She was there raising her children while waiting for her husband to take his accepted position teaching Religion at the college, but with no replacement available for two years at the Seminary he taught at, by the time he was available for the position, another offer came and the family moved from Brunswick. H. B. Stowe was in the early stages of great fame for her famous novel.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    A wonderful read. I picked this up out of curiousity and found myself engrossed. Well-written. Easy to follow. Harriet Beecher Stowe was truly a remarkable woman. Gerson is not fawning by any means, yet he conveys a vivid, three-dimensional portrait of a woman who tried her very best to be what she felt God wanted her to be. In many ways, she was an important catalyst in changing the world. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendell Hennan

    A very thorough event by event recap of her life and that of her parents and brothers and sisters up to the time of her death. My maternal grandparents were both from the US and a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin was in my Grandmother's book case and I read it about the age of ten. It was very sad and educational, undoubtedly forming my early thoughts of slavery, human rights, and treatment of our neighbors. What I didn't realize was that her book polarized the north and south and Lincoln when meeting A very thorough event by event recap of her life and that of her parents and brothers and sisters up to the time of her death. My maternal grandparents were both from the US and a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin was in my Grandmother's book case and I read it about the age of ten. It was very sad and educational, undoubtedly forming my early thoughts of slavery, human rights, and treatment of our neighbors. What I didn't realize was that her book polarized the north and south and Lincoln when meeting her said, so this is the little lady who started it all. I also did not realize what a prolific writer she was or the depth of her Calvinist beliefs, although she swung over to Episcopalian in later years. An interesting read and prompted me to re read Uncle Tom's Cabin and try to read a couple other books she has written.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jack Roberts

    It's as good as anything Ms. Stowe wrote I highly recommend this book as a factual, balanced, and historically accurate account of the life of one of the Great American writers. I especially enjoyef learning that she was a neighbor to the great Mark Twain, and was considered the equal of royalty and great writers around the world during her time period. I do highly recommend this book. It's as good as anything Ms. Stowe wrote I highly recommend this book as a factual, balanced, and historically accurate account of the life of one of the Great American writers. I especially enjoyef learning that she was a neighbor to the great Mark Twain, and was considered the equal of royalty and great writers around the world during her time period. I do highly recommend this book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    My kids and I really enjoyed this book. We each knew little to nothing about Mrs. Stowe, so it was really interesting to learn all about her, her life, and her popularity. As one of my kids put it, she was probably more famous than J.K. Rowling (comparatively)! :) Highly recommended to any fellow history buffs.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Part of history Interesting read of the life of a woman who was completely involved with the times of her life. Never realized what a prolific writer she was. Also did not know that her brothers were pastors in Batavia NY where I am from.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Lim

    Excellent I learned more about Harriett Beecher Stowe and the role she played in history from this book than any history book I have ever read. The entire Beecher family members were incredible. I plan to reread this book to absorb more history.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane Thompson

    Biography A very unsatisfying biography, the author. Tells the story of Harriet Beecher Stowe. It leaves out many details and does not adequately explain. how a well known writer could screw up her life as she did.

  11. 4 out of 5

    C.E. DeJoria

    Biography of famous author This biography of the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and many other books is a little too detailed for me. It did provide incite into her upbringing and personality which I found interesting. Just way too many quotes from her books and letters. Biography of famous author This biography of the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin and many other books is a little too detailed for me. It did provide incite into her upbringing and personality which I found interesting. Just way too many quotes from her books and letters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dan A. Foster

    Harriet Beecher Stowe Treatise on the life of a famous author and shaper of 1800s thought. A bit dry at times. Also, slanted in favor of protecting Mrs. Stowe’s ideals and positioning her writings as more popular and influential than may have been.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Interesting information about this author. Very important to the civil war and helped keep England on the north side side.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Richard R., Martin

    It was great to learn about such an important figure in American history but the book was boring. The author would often include long passages from letters or other peoples' period writings that were hard to read. It was great to learn about such an important figure in American history but the book was boring. The author would often include long passages from letters or other peoples' period writings that were hard to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bon

    Good read! I wasn't aware of all the books and articles Harriet Beecher Stowe had written. This book was very interesting following her life and steadfast beliefs. Good read! I wasn't aware of all the books and articles Harriet Beecher Stowe had written. This book was very interesting following her life and steadfast beliefs.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    A well-researched and well-written biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe – not much else to say about it really! Does what it sets out to do – explores her life and writings.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    Dry reading. Almost worse than a history book. My only peeked interest is to reread Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It reminds me again why I avoid reading biographies.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Wolff

    Interesting but... Interesting biography about a woman I'd read about but knew nothing about. About halfway through, it got long winded and included pages of letters she'd written or had been written to or about her. Interesting but... Interesting biography about a woman I'd read about but knew nothing about. About halfway through, it got long winded and included pages of letters she'd written or had been written to or about her.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I just couldn't finish. Thought she sounded interesting, and she probably is but this book just didn't do it for me. I just couldn't finish. Thought she sounded interesting, and she probably is but this book just didn't do it for me.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean Tischart

    Loved the book. Well written. She was such an amazing woman and had such an interesting life. It made me want to read more of her books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stanley McShane

    The biography of "Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Noel Gerson was originally printed in 1976 by Praeger, now reprinted by Endeavour Press. They apparently did not try to edit out errors, such as has been noted before with the misspelling of her name in Chapter 18, as well as a number of typos prior to that chapter. Of course, it was the impact that her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had on not only the U.S., but also the world that made her infamous. She felt strongly about the cause and was a tireless work The biography of "Harriet Beecher Stowe" by Noel Gerson was originally printed in 1976 by Praeger, now reprinted by Endeavour Press. They apparently did not try to edit out errors, such as has been noted before with the misspelling of her name in Chapter 18, as well as a number of typos prior to that chapter. Of course, it was the impact that her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had on not only the U.S., but also the world that made her infamous. She felt strongly about the cause and was a tireless worker, often paying out of her pocket (or even borrowing money), to pay for the freedom of an individual in trouble (such as the 3 year old separated from both parents). Having been reared in a staunch Calvinistic family, her father a preacher and brothers becoming ministers, she relied heavily on her strong religious background to support her moral grounds. However, I had no idea the woman was so progressive or prolific. She may have written a piece that helped turn American history, but her legacy extends far beyond. Here is a woman who also influenced slavery principles in countries around the globe, chiefly among which was Great Britain. The book opened doors for Ms. Stowe not only to Queen Victoria, but also to extended royalty. She was widely acknowledged and received in Europe and discovered how much she loved Paris and Italy, the latter of which forged in her a new understanding into Catholicism. While I was awe-struck at the accomplishments of this woman when women were not expected to exert much more influence than that of children, the book lapsed into long passages of her personal correspondence. The woman was obviously very cerebral; however, the extended passages definitely slowed the progression of the story of her life. Highly recommended for anyone who doesn't believe one woman could change the course of history.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    I expected this to be a biography targeting high school level students, perhaps because nowadays most people, I suspect, only read Stowe if it's assigned. I just happened upon the book in a free moment, and dove in. I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully the author had gone through the primary source materials, and personal correspondence was cited or quoted often to convey Harriet's perspectives and impressions. I particularly appreciated how this biography offered me a glimpse into the fas I expected this to be a biography targeting high school level students, perhaps because nowadays most people, I suspect, only read Stowe if it's assigned. I just happened upon the book in a free moment, and dove in. I was pleasantly surprised by how carefully the author had gone through the primary source materials, and personal correspondence was cited or quoted often to convey Harriet's perspectives and impressions. I particularly appreciated how this biography offered me a glimpse into the fascinating family interactions of all the famous Beechers. I have sometimes mused it might be a fun class on American culture in the 19th century just to explore the contributions of the varied family members of that illustrative clan, how they were so representative of their culture in some ways, and pushing it forward progressively in others. I also appreciated details on Stowe's private friendships and relationships with the reclusive Lady Byron--which led to the one publicity scandal on Stowe's remarkable celebrity career--or with her neighbor in Hartford, Mark Twain. For those who only know her as the little lady who wrote the book that started that big war (to paraphrase Lincoln, albeit poorly), this offers reviews and summaries of her other literary works as well--literature often forgotten in this time but very popular in hers. What she did with her money after she got rich also was interesting, as was her long marriage with her intellectual husband, a theology superstar of the era in his own right.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bob Horvat

    Quite a woman A very interesting and informative look at a time of turmoil in our country and a woman who made a difference.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Harriet Beecher Stowe had an interesting life that was both very much of her times (her strict New England upbringing, which led to her abolitionist sympathies) but also timeless (her hard work to support her family, cleaning and mending getting put in the backseat so she could focus on her children and her writing). The kindle version has a number of odd typos, at one point calling her Hamel Beecher Stowe, and at another describing her belief that Cod is love.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    The Woman Who Caused the Civil War? This history of Harriet Beecher Stowe brings out the strengths and weaknesses of this amazingly prolific author. Remembered for one work, HBS produced a prodigious body of work and had a much greater impact on the country than I would ever have suspected. Would particularly recommend this book for young authors.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Although a bit dated, this biography of Stowe was very straightforward and provided a clear life to the famous writer. Filled with letters that were not necessary, it would need a little editing but the it was detailed enough to bring out the interesting sides of this woman and her place in literary history.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    A dedicated abolitionist Pres Lincoln may have emancipated slavery but the powerful written words of Harriet Beecher Stowe was instrumental in educating public awareness to facilitate its eventuality.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    Glad I read it. The book leaves me a better picture of life leading up to the Civil War in the North and following. Learning who Stowe's contemporaries were was interesting too as I have never made much correlation between them and what they wrote about. Worth the time. Glad I read it. The book leaves me a better picture of life leading up to the Civil War in the North and following. Learning who Stowe's contemporaries were was interesting too as I have never made much correlation between them and what they wrote about. Worth the time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Good bio of Stowe. Touches on her large Beecher family, without bogging down the book with all their stories, too. I'd recommend this for anyone interested in an introductory bio of Stowe - has the right balance of detail, but not too much detail Good bio of Stowe. Touches on her large Beecher family, without bogging down the book with all their stories, too. I'd recommend this for anyone interested in an introductory bio of Stowe - has the right balance of detail, but not too much detail

  30. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Franklin

    I enjoyed learning more about Harriet Beecher Stowe than the fact she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin and the surprising tolerance of a woman raised as a strict Calvinist. As a biography, it didn't interest me the way a novel would. I suspect it's the genre and not the writing. I enjoyed learning more about Harriet Beecher Stowe than the fact she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin and the surprising tolerance of a woman raised as a strict Calvinist. As a biography, it didn't interest me the way a novel would. I suspect it's the genre and not the writing.

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